Thursday, March 29, 2018

Why my own news "brand" is important to me



Although maybe not a legal question regarding trademark strictly speaking, my own insistence on maintaining my own personal “brand” of news reporting and commentary in my books and blogs can raise troubling questions.

My “brand” has consisted of using the “doaskdotell.com” site name and workmark for the books, as well as my own legal name (John W. Boushka) and parental-given nickname (Bill Boushka).  I suppose the nickname could complicate things further, but I have never heard a complaint from extended family members.

There is some controversy because my operations don’t pay their own way or make much money, so they seem gratuitous, attention-getting, and intended to distract readers from more conventional group-centered (even “intersectional”) activism.  That can raise a variety of crisscrossing questions on matters like business licenses and home-based businesses, all the way to election law (the 2005 controversy about free political “blogging” presented on these pages before).
  
What I want to reinforce today is the importance to me of my own “brand”, and that I not be a conduit for somebody else’s speech.  It may sound problematical to say that shouting in a demonstration is “beneath me”;  but in any sense doing so is not my own “game”. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Trademarked franchise brands get protected aggressively, and this affects decisions of a lot of small business owners



Will businesses that use names similar to those of established franchises (like the same first word or number) face trademark infringement suits?
  
It’s interesting that so many of the major retail marks are indeed franchises owned by public companies, which have a fiduciary responsibility toward shareholders.  So they must protect their marks even in situations that may sound silly. 
    
The use of franchise brands has a major impact on decisions that small business owners make.  Often they feel pressured to work with a major brand franchise than work on their own.  It strikes me that immigrants are often very good at managing franchises as they have learned these skills in their home countries through their families.

The brands can even matter in the media, with televisions shows (which are usually "series" and qualify as franchises) and movie sequels. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Blackberry sues Facebook over patents underlying Messenger



BlackBerry, which we haven’t heard as much about (Research in Motion) recently, since Obama gave up his in 2009 (I switched over to Droid in 2010 and eventually iPhone), is suing Facebook for patent infringement over several features in Facebook messenger.  Timothy B. Lee explains the cross litigation in Ars Technica.  Lee describes this as “weaponizing instant messaging patents”.


These patents sound more "valid" than some others that get trolled. but some of them still sound largely conceptual, like the "icons with numeric badges". 
  
My own iPhone has a button for Messages and for Facebook Messenger, two separate apps.